Amazing plant amaranth is considered one of the most ancient world grain crops. Having received its name from the Latin word Amaránthus (“unfading”), it seems that it never really loses its strength, continuing to bloom even when the rest of the crops are already preparing for hibernation. No wonder the word “amaranth” is perceived by the ear as a song – as if we are talking not about a plant, but about a precious stone received as a gift from the hands of the Mistress of Copper Mountain.
For 8 thousand years amaranth seeds were considered the main food of the peoples of South America and Mexico. He was called “Inca bread”, “golden grain”, and the Aztecs believed that if you regularly eat the seeds of amaranth, you can turn into a real superman. It was they who used this plant in ritual festivities, constructing huge sculptures from flour extracted from its grains, which, after the end of the celebration, were cut into pieces and eaten with pleasure.
In ancient times, amaranth was taken as a payment of taxes, thanks to which the state treasury could be replenished so powerfully that its reserves would feed the population for a couple of decades. And when omnipotent Europe landed on the Aztec lands and wanted to “land” the amaranth on its territory, in these places people already erected this plant into a real cult!
That is why it was decided to fight him: the amaranth was forbidden to use and grow, and the death penalty threatened to violate the law. Spanish conquistadors called amaranth “devil’s plant” and outlived it so stubbornly that this plant could be preserved only in one of the parts of Latin America, whose valleys were isolated from the triumph of civilization. It was here in the twentieth century that amaranth was discovered by American scientists who didn’t become confused and immediately began to study a unique plant.
Amaranth: aesthetic beauty and healing power!
American John Downton, one of the scientists of the last century, who conducted experiments on amaranth, found that the grains of the plant contain much more protein than wheat, corn or rice already known to people. How could humanity, having such knowledge in its hands, once again expose amaranth to oblivion? Of course not, and the amazing plant has become a universal cereal revered all over the world.
Nicknamed in medicine “the product of the XXI century”, today amaranth is found in almost all countries. In America, for example, thanks to the efforts of scientific institutions, amaranth is abundantly used in the food industry. You can find it among the products of dietary stores, and the meat that was grown on the feed, made on its basis, is more expensive than usual, by as much as 25%!
Russian research centers are not lagging behind their colleagues and are allowed to use amaranth in various forms in the production of bread and confectionery, in the medical field and to produce on its basis baby food and perfumery. A total of 17 species of amaranth are grown in Russia (out of 850 known), many of which occupy a well-deserved place in natural medicine kits and the food industry.
Cockscomb that beat everyone
Surely you have seen how amaranth blooms: having fluffed up bright red cock scallop, as if going to a fight or a ball, the staff provoke a person to admiration, love and reverence – but not to indifference, will you agree?
Ancient legends say that the luxurious decoration of your garden is capable of more – it is able to qualitatively pass through human life. In the tales there is a lion’s share of truth: amaranth seeds have unique dietary properties, contain protein and carbohydrates, countless vitamins, and do not yet contain gluten harmful to the human body.
Amaranth leaves, which look like spinach, are often used in cooking. That’s just raw should not be consumed: both the seeds and the leaves must be necessarily processed, scalded, boiled – so that the dishes prepared from it are really healthy and nutritious.
The chemical composition of amaranth – what’s special about it?
If you have ever heard that amaranth is poison, do not believe the false rumors! It’s just that some industrialists replace the priceless amaranth with low-quality food dye, which has been banned since 1976. It is really harmful to humans, but it has nothing to do with a healing plant.
What amaranth is rich in is high-quality lysine-enriched protein. Surely you have heard that this amino acid is incredibly useful for humans, but very few people know that thanks to its presence in its composition, amaranth is compared in nutritional value with tender squid meat.
Recently, a new quality of the plant was discovered: it was discovered squalene, which is a natural component of human skin. It is not difficult to guess that thanks to this, amaranth began to be used in cosmetology, defeating inflammation and festering wounds with it. Squalene, by the way, is also found in expensive varieties of olive oil, but in amaranth it is found much more – from 5 to 8%.
Phytosterols are found in amaranth, actively removing from the body cholesterol, and tocopherols, vigorously combating free radicals, and phospholipids, which build our body. What else is worth mentioning is retinol, vitamin D, sodium, potassium, magnesium and other chemicals that support metabolic processes in the body.
Whether the wise Aztecs knew about the chemical properties of this plant – it is not known, however, like a century ago, the tribute to amaranth in the present is given in full. Porridge prepared from the seeds of the plant, help in the active restoration of the human body, depleted by a long illness. It’s all about dietary fibers, which qualitatively cleanse the intestines of toxins. By the way, despite the nutritional value of cereals, it is impossible to overeat them – and, as a result, you can not be afraid to gain extra pounds.
Amaranth oil is successfully used for burns and insect bites, it is used for bathing, it is used as a basis for the prevention of eye diseases, insomnia and senile dementia. The plant oil is also used in cosmetology, as it has a magic rejuvenating effect on the skin.
He is such an amaranth – a unique diamond of a natural pantry, about which you can write endlessly, tell without stopping, and treat various diseases with great success. How exactly, we will definitely tell in the following articles!